Reeling Them in Arway Rightly Presses Lawmakers on Fishing Fees

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), February 13, 2018 | Go to article overview

Reeling Them in Arway Rightly Presses Lawmakers on Fishing Fees


John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, has the courage of his convictions - and Pennsylvania's outdoor enthusiasts should be grateful for that. Mr. Arway long has warned state lawmakers about the commission's impending financial wall. He's still doing so, even after learning his outspokenness could cost him his job.

Mr. Arway is warning of the need to close three hatcheries and cut back other services because of a funding squeeze. He wants the public's input on what to maintain or cut, and visitors at this week's 33rd annual Allegheny Outdoor, Sport & Travel Show in Monroeville will have the opportunity to weigh in via a questionnaire.

Revenue for the commission's $52 million budget comes largely from the sale of licenses and permits, and the price of a general fishing license last increased 13 years ago. Only the Legislature can increase the fee schedule under current law, and the House hasn't yet responded to Mr. Arway's calls for help.

The delay is unfortunate partly because Mr. Arway's request for relief is eminently reasonable and because the job to help him is half done. Under a bill that passed the Senate last March and has remained in the House Game and Fisheries Committee ever since, the commission would be able to set its own rates for three years, with the public having the right to offer comment and the Legislature and governor overseeing the process.

The House tabled a similar rate-setting bill for the Game Commission last year, and Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee, said he's unwilling to advance one bill without the other. …

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